This is going to be a digest version of my life since 2007. My mom passed away in November of that year and my dad has been gone since August of 1992. When mom passed away I inherited my younger brother who is now 54, soon to be 55 years of age. He was born with a disease called PKU and is intellectually disabled. Me and my wonderful husband had told Mom before she passed that we would take care of him for as long as we could. We had some help from my siblings for a while but over the last four years not as much. I began to worry about what would happen if something happened to me and I did not want my husband to continue to be his caregiver though he has done quite an incredible job since 2007. I work full-time and hubby runs a 500+ acre beef cattle farm which is also a full-time job.
Though little brother is very easy-going and not a lot of trouble, his physical and mental needs are growing which led me to the decision that I would need further help from my siblings or I would have to find a care facility that would better suit his and our needs. The siblings decided they could not take him into their homes so in June I began looking into an intermediate care facility. This is no easy nor quick task because there are so few facilities and to get him accepted he had to be on Medicaid. He was already drawing social security from our Dad. I spent six months of the last year trying to find just the right place and TRYING to get Medicaid. Not looking for a facility that looked like a hospital or nursing home was my first challenge. I won’t go into all the details but if any of you see something like this in your future, don’t wait. Start the procedure now and be patient because dealing with the government is not a simple task when obtaining Medicaid and it’s looks like there lots of options around but they are either full, don’t except Medicaid or any number of other obstacles. We were not financially capable to pay for the change ourselves.
Little brother was very excited and anxious to move into a new place almost as much as we were. We found what I think is the perfect new home for him. There are only eight other residents in the facility and they have equal counselors/staff on premises 24/7. The facility itself is beautiful with several gathering rooms for the residents. Each resident has a roommate that share very nice, large rooms, closet for each and share a huge bathroom. They all have their own TV’s in their rooms as well as desks/seating areas to color, play games, work puzzles, and that type thing. Everyday they have a schedule which includes meals, entertainment, schooling, chores and personal care. There is a nurse on call everyday and a van is provided that takes them to Day Skills school Monday through Friday all year-long. The facility has a doctor that visits the residents on a monthly basis and more specialists that tend to their every need. He moved into the facility on January 20th, 2014 and loves it.
Little brother seems quite content and I call him every other night to check on him. Once a week they go bowling, have music night once a week and he has been able to pull out his guitar to entertain and sing and on Sunday night they have an hour of bible lessons. Plans are in the works to actually teach him some chords on his guitar. He is participating with the Special Olympics basketball team. He has been to the Kazim Shrine’s Circus this month but think the noise got to him there.
In addition to all the fun and learning he is involved in, the staff has been able to get him to see a dentist, had his hearing checked and his eyes checked. He has been to a lab twice for blood work. All of these things I could never convince him to do but I think their staff has a real knack for getting these things done plus the fact that he goes with the other residents that have these regular tests. Medical needs that I was not aware of are being met and I know now that he is in a better situation than he was with me. I do miss him very much but we talk real often and I go visit a couple of times a month or more. Weather has prevented me from going in the last week but he will see me next week.
He made me this for Valentines Day
and gave it to me week before last and he has told me he made me and my daughter a Valentine. Here’s a couple of pictures of him in his new home:
It’s been a bit of a challenge for hubby and I getting used to being home alone again. I think we’ll all be very happy!